Just south of Reykjavík, in the heart of the old town of Hafnarfjörður, a large three-storey concrete building was erected in the 1960s to house a timber factory called Dvergur. The building, which was situated under a cliff, next to the town’s stream and behind the old church, looked out of place within its fragile surroundings, which consisted mostly of small wooden houses clad with corrugated iron, dating from the turn of the 20th century.

Around the turn of the 21st century, plans were made to demolish the old factory building. In 2017 the local municipality held a competition among architects and contractors for a proposal to replace the old building with a new development which included apartments, with the possibility of shops and services being located on the ground floor.

Our proposal imagines a complex of buildings that evoke the old structures of the neighbourhood. The buildings surround a central garden, which serves as a passage between buildings as well as a meeting space for their inhabitants. Each building has a pitched roof and metal cladding that echoes the appearance of the old houses, but with a modern twist. To avoid repetition, each building has a unique appearance with a different type of metal cladding, and contains between one and six apartments, each with a private entrance from the central garden. Shops and services are situated on the ground floors along the main street in order to bring life to the street area. A café or restaurant is located in the north-west corner to further engage the area behind the old church. A parking garage is located under the central garden in order to avoid the negative environmental effects of parking spaces located above ground.


Andri Gunnar Lyngberg Andrésson, Guðni Valberg, Jón Davíð Ásgeirsson


KRADS, Landmótun, Guja Dögg Hauksdóttir, Studio Capn (photography), Marino Thorlacius (thumbnail photo), Rosario Badessa (competition renderings)


Hafnarfjörður, Iceland


Apartments, Shops/Services


3.700 m2


Completed 2023